Judge declines to drop criminal charges against inauguration protesters
© Getty Images

A federal judge is declining to dismiss cases for more than 200 people charged with rioting on President TrumpDonald TrumpMcAuliffe takes tougher stance on Democrats in Washington Democrats troll Trump over Virginia governor's race Tom Glavine, Ric Flair, Doug Flutie to join Trump for Herschel Walker event MORE's Inauguration Day.

In a decision issued Thursday, Judge Lynn Leibovitz of the District of Columbia Superior Court denied all motions to dismiss the criminal cases filed by defense attorneys who claimed clients could not be tied to specific instances of rioting on Jan. 20.

Other attorneys opposed the indictments by claiming the actions of their defendants were protected under the First Amendment as nonviolent political speech. 

Protesters clashed with law enforcement at multiple points on Inauguration Day, resulting in police officers using flash-bang grenades and pepper spray to push back crowds.


According to court filings, the Inauguration Day riot caused over $100,000 in property damage, after rioters broke windows of cars and businesses in the downtown area. Police arrested 234 people in the riot, and there are 194 remaining cases from the incident. 

Of those charged, 19 have pleaded guilty thus far. Criminal trials are scheduled into 2018, with the first trial set for November of this year. All were charged on breaking D.C. rioting laws, and some face charges for property destruction.